TRANS ACTIVISTS TARGET IDAHO STUDENTS THROUGH SCHOOL CLUBS
By Anna Miller and Kaitlyn Shepherd
Lakes Middle School in Coeur d’Alene invited children as young as 12 years old to attend a Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club meeting wherein students were taught about LGBT-related issues without parental knowledge or consent.
Parents and public officials may be tempted to think this is an isolated incident. However, there are at least 28 GSAs in middle and high schools across Idaho that are working to further the sexualization of children. GSAs are influential in public schools across the country. Activist administrators and teachers running GSA clubs recruit children beginning in elementary school and tell them to lie to their parents.
GSAs are school clubs for LGBT youth and their allies that condition students to be activists. They originally emerged as “safe spaces” for trans and queer students but evolved into “vehicles for deep social change” in the areas of gender and racial justice. Teachers and staff recruit students to join the club, then students lead the GSA.
The Gay & Straight Alliance Club at Fairmont Junior High School in the Boise School District provides an example of a typical GSA club meeting.
First, students attending are told to keep the conversations confidential. Meetings begin with students sharing their pronouns and the LGBT intersectional identity with which they choose to align or whether they are an “ally.” The group then conducts Q&A sessions during which students can ask teachers or administrators about transgenderism, gender identity, sexualities, and other LGBT topics. Guest speakers are sometimes invited to the meetings. Students and “advisors” give presentations to students on new LGBT topics. Parental permission is not necessary for a student to join the club.
GSAs can provide students with LGBT resources, which include chest binders, specially designed breast compression garments for young girls who seek gender mutilation surgery, and contact information for gender transition clinics. For instance, the GSA Club at Lake City High School in the Coeur d’Alene School District gave students tips on chest binding. The Gay & Straight Alliance at Fairmont Junior High School directs middle school students to transgender-affirming healthcare providers and gender-affirming therapists.
GSAs encourage students to attend local pride events. For instance, the GSA at Skyline High School in the Idaho Falls School District encouraged students to attend the Loud & Proud Drag Show.
Members of Wood River High School’s Pride Club attended a Drag Queen event at Sawtooth Botanical Garden. The students created a spin-the-wheel game in which passers-by could answer questions such as “How do you support members of the LGBT community? What’s your favorite queer movie? Favorite queer celebrity?” The night ended with the students attending a drag show.
GSAs encourage students to participate in political activism for the LGBT cause. For instance, East Junior High in Boise directed club members to attend the “Support Transgender Students Rally.” Every junior high school in Boise has a GSA, according to the Gay & Straight Alliance at Fairmont Junior High, and GSAs also exist at the majority of Boise School District’s high schools. The activist pressure of these clubs in Boise schools helps explain why over a hundred students protested against a bill that would have protected adolescents from being given puberty blockers.
Activist groups, such as the North Idaho Pride Alliance, seek to organize more GSA clubs for young children. The efforts of these types of interest groups have led to GSAs opening up even in rural schools, including Rigby High School and Middleton High School. At the behest of such groups, more GSAs will continue to emerge every year.
Taking children to drag shows or encouraging gender transition surgery is not what most parents consider a “safe space” at school.
Rep. Barbara Ehardt presented a simple policy solution in the 2022 legislative session: Require parental notification and consent before students join a school club. The bill was denied a hearing and died in Chairman Lance Clow’s Republican-controlled Education Committee.
Although the ideas promoted by these clubs are rooted in a pernicious ideology sexualizing children and opposed by many Idaho parents, none of that has stopped them from gaining influence in schools across Idaho and the nation. Gender activists rely on public subsidies and the vulnerability of children to advance their ideology. Who will care to stop them?